Spurs aim to resume home mastery of Warriors
The San Antonio Spurs continue their march toward the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoff race Wednesday night when they host the Golden State Warriors.
The Spurs are just 1 1/2 game ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
San Antonio received some encouraging news as Tony Parker practiced on Tuesday with the team. He's been out since March 1 with a sprained left ankle, but his return is not quite on the imminent horizon.
"He's getting there. I think it'll be sooner than four weeks," head coach Gregg Popovich said after practice on Tuesday. "He's not ready for tomorrow. He did everything today."
The Spurs have won two in a row and six of their last eight.
Last time out, the Spurs worked hard for a 119-113 home victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tim Duncan was spectacular against the Cavs with 30 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.
"We're moving the ball into the post a little more. That's where I'm a little more effective," said Duncan. "Manu (Ginobili) did an awesome job tonight of feeding me in the post. I got a couple of good layups off of that."
Kawhi Leonard chipped in 24 and Tiago Splitter added 10. The bench was solid as Ginobili scored 14 points and handed out 10 assists. Nando De Colo also had 10 points in a reserve role.
The Warriors shook off an embarrassing home loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday with back-to-back road wins. They trounced the Houston Rockets, 108-78 on Sunday, then came back and buried the New Orleans Hornets, 93-72 on Monday.
"Our defense was pretty good tonight," said David Lee after the Hornets victory. "It kept us with a lead. In the second half, I thought that was one of our better jobs of executing down the stretch."
It's been an incredible run defensively for the Warriors, holding the Rockets and Hornets to an average of 75 ppg. The Hornets are the 25th best offensive team in the league, but Golden State held the Rockets, who are second in the NBA in scoring, almost 28 points under their scoring average.
The Warriors occupy the sixth spot in the Western Conference playoff race, but are just two games ahead of Houston. Golden State is three ahead of the eighth-ranked Los Angeles Lakers and four clear of the Utah Jazz, who are currently on the outside looking in.
The Warriors have a tough chore ahead of them, not just playing the West's best and the team with the second-best record in the NBA. San Antonio has owned Golden State in recent history.
When the Warriors beat the Spurs on Feb. 22, it snapped a 16-game losing streak to San Antonio. But, the Warriors haven't won in San Antonio since Feb. 14, 1997, a span of 28 straight losses.